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Samurai Appliance Repair Man's Blog



How to Fix All Serial Communications Error Codes in Whirlpool-built Front-load Washers

Posted by Samurai Appliance Repair Man, in Washing Machine Repair 22 November 2013 · 2,150 views
Whirlpool, Maytag, communications and 6 more...
The dreaded “serial communications error” in Whirlpool-built front-load washers appears as various codes, depending on the particular model. On the Old-Skool Duet washers, the most common communications error code was F-11: communications error between the Central Control Unit (CCU) and Motor Control Unit (MCU). On the new model Duet washers, this same error has been re-labelled as F-28. On some Maytag front loaders (all built by Whirlpool, in case you didn’t already know that), you may see an F6E2 fault code, which is a communications error between the CCU and the User Interface (UI) boards.

Many a fine battle-hardened appliance warrior has been befuddled by these error codes and have needlessly soiled their undergarments throwing every control board in the box at it.

But these serial communications error codes all have one big thing in common:

They are almost NEVER caused by a bad circuit board! Instead, they are exactly as the error code description says: a COMMUNICATIONS error between two boards. In other words, a bad connection.

Oh, I know— you’ll hear some guys swear it was a bad board because they replaced the such-and-such board and it fixed the problem, so it had to be a bad board. But I’m here to show you that in 99.9999% of these cases, the board itself is perfectly functional but the real problem is the CONNECTIONS to the board.

“Uhh, howzzat, Samurai Smart-ass Guy?”

Ahh, Grasshoppah, make still your mind and the Samurai shall reveal the truth unto thee. And the truth shall make you free. Come with me now on a journey of Total Appliance Enlightenment™…

Let's think about the modern front loading washer and the average laundry room for a minute. In these front loaders, you have at least two (CCU and MCU) sometimes four (CCU, MCU, UI, and Steam Board) different boards that all need to talk to each other and pass data back and forth: digital data, voltages. How do they do this?

Since they haven’t incorporated internal Wi-Fi into appliances yet, all these boards are connected to each other by special wire harnesses called serial communications cables. All this data exchange is fact-checked and verified by a process called “handshaking” (yes, that’s what it’s really called). If, at any time during this continuous process of passing data back and forth an error is discovered during the handshaking, the CCU throws a serial communications error. The closest it can get in the error code is by telling you which two boards had trouble talking. But that’s close enough!

So what causes these handshaking errors? Lots of things! In fact, given the conditions that these washing machines have to work in— lots of vibration, moisture, humidity, heat, etc.— it’s amazing they work as well as they do. But all it takes is a loose connection at a molex connector on a wire harness or an oxidized pad on the control board to disrupt that handshaking. It doesn’t even need to be a totally broken connection, just one with low enough signal-to-noise ratio that the CCU can’t tell which is signal and which is noise.

Okay, here’s the part you’ve been waiting for: the Silver Bullet Fix for these elusive and mysterious serial communications errors in Whirlpool-built front-load washers.

The harness itself can (and usually does) check good. That's not usually the problem. The problem is at the harness connection points where the molex connector on the harness connects to the boards at either end. The tines can become loose or the pads on the board may become oxidized. Here's a technique that I've used with great success in these types of problems. BTW, all modern front loaders work the same way and use pretty much the same basic technology so this solution concept for serial communications errors applies to all brands of front load washers, not just Whirlpool:




Caption Contest! There's even a prize... read on!

Posted by Samurai Appliance Repair Man, in Appliance Repair Service, Humor, Goofs 22 November 2013 · 497 views
caption, contest, mouse and 2 more...
I removed the back of the control panel on a range the other day, and found this little critter. (My customer freaked!) Seems like this pic is just a-squeakin' for a good caption. If you've got one, put it in the comments below.

Vote for a caption by "liking" it.

If your caption gets the most "likes," you'll win your very own official Appliantology travel mug and will be the envy of all your friends.

Contest ends at midnight this coming Sunday, November 24.

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Oven Self-Clean Folly

Posted by Samurai Appliance Repair Man, in Oven-Range-Stove Repair 15 November 2013 · 817 views
oven, range, self-clean and 1 more...
This is the time of year, the countdown to Thanksgiving, that we professional Appliantologists lovingly refer to as “Cooking Season.”

I love cooking season. It marks the next season in my local appliance service bidness from the warm refrigerator fire drills all summer long, through the inevitable slowdown after Labor Day, to cooking season when families get together to break bread and turkey legs, crack a few cold ones, catch up on each other’s lives and generally get on each other’s nerves. Through it all, Samurai Appliance Repair Man and Appliantology.org are right there with you, helping, listening, seeing things we shouldn’t see… oh, wait, that’s the NSA.

Many of my local service customers, aware that they’re coming up on Thanksgiving, figure they better go ahead and run a self-clean cycle on their range or oven in case that nosey mother-in-law decides to inspect the inside of the oven.

Problem is that this is about the only time during the whole year they run the self-clean cycle. More often than not, what ends up happening is that all the grease accumulated on the door latch motor gets hardened into a crusty, burnt cement that prevents the door latch from unlocking at the end of the cycle.

Result: door stuck closed at the end of the clean cycle and no access to the oven. I get dozens of these calls in the run up to Thanksgiving. It’s nice, profitable work for me so it’s definitely not in my self-interest to give away these closely-guarded trade secrets. But you’ve just reaped the bountiful benefit of reading my blog here at Appliantology!

I’ll let you in an another secret: Our range at home has the self-clean feature, like most medium to upper-end ranges do. We have never used it, not even once. I don’t generally get away with telling Mrs. Samurai what to do— she doesn’t take kindly to that and can get downright ornery. But when I explain to her that using the self-clean feature can break her oven and it might take me months to get it fixed (because no one pays me to fix my own broken stuff), she sees the light. And now you do, too.


Naked Before Millions

youtube, one million, views
Hoo-wee! We just passed One Million views on my YouTube channel! With over 140 videos (and counting) of my gnarly, naked knuckles whuppin' up on a bunch of appliances, you're sure to find some inspiration for your own appliance battles.

Subscribe to my YouTube channel and observe, first-hand, my patented appliance repair battle techniques. Posted Image






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